The “Grand Spiritual Music Station,” located just outside of psychedelia and bordering on the blues, has recently fallen into disrepair. There was a time when a rainbowed train, swelling from head to caboose with passengers, would speed over these tracks, above the clouds and below the sea and into Electric Ladyland. It was here where Jimi, their loyal conductor, would tip his jeweled hat and announce with a smile, “All out! I want to show you the different emotions, here in this magic carpet place.”
Looking over the caps of love’s foaming mountains and into the despair of the overshadowed valleys, the passengers knew that they had reached a place above the Strawberry Fields and that they had officially arrived at Complete Sensory Overload. Condemned by institutions of our dimension, the gateway to Electric Ladyland has been shut and the conductor has been replaced by a spiritless apathy, which leads the train in a circle through the blinding fog of indifference.
Today, it is only in the recorded music of Jimi Hendrix and a handful of his contemporaries that we can once again escape into that surreal world.
From the straightforward rock of “Crosstown Traffic” to the classically orchestrated spirituality of “1983” “Electric Ladyland” celebrates the entire spectrum of Hendrix’s music roots. The music becomes an independently original form of expression which can only be described as “The Jimi Hendrix Experience.” While lyrical, with the exception of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” the music cannot stand alone. The combination of the images of which Jimi sings and the rhetorical emphasis with which he presents them provides almost unparalleled auditory appeal, especially when reinforced by the genius of his guitar work. Additionally, though most music generates lyrics as foreground, Hendrix allows the lyrics to provide an appropriate background for advertising his instrument. In a sense, Jimi’s Stratocaster is more articulate and speaks with more poetic beauty than he, or almost any other singer, possibly could. To pick out exact instrumentation on “Electric Ladyland” is almost impossible. The music possesses a oneness which allows it to move as a whole, creating a more euphonious appeal.
While we must “bear the slings and arrows” of reality to prosper in life, an escape into the surreal can open one’s mind to new emotional convictions which can further our human possibilities. Listening to “Electric Ladyland” is like slipping into a warm bath and falling into a deep relaxing dream in which you ride that musical train into “Electric love” and feel the intangible ebbing around your mind